Living above the big box
Sometimes a giant supermarket or big box store like Home Depot coming to your neighborhood is an inevitability, but The RISE in Vancouver, Canada proves it doesn’t have to be a one-story warehouse surrounded by parking. Instead, the parking is buried underground with over 90 condos and townhouses above. That’s right, when have you ever heard of residences above a big box?
No, this is certainly not an example of elegant, attractive design, but hey, baby steps. Developed by Grosvenor Canada, the 2.3 acre transit-oriented development received a ULI Award for Excellence in recognition of its innovative mix of residential and 212,000 s.f. of retail.
The building is designed to use 31% less energy, 67% less potable water, and will generate 52% lower greenhouse gas emissions, with a 20,000 s.f. green roof (pictured below) that serves as a park and community garden.
They only did 2/3 of the work. The other 1/3 is to complete the street: Tree-line it, make it safer for pedestrians by widening the sidewalk/tree lining it, create a lane for bicyclists, and transit. I will give credit and say it did the most important job by bettering the urban fabric, but in order for it to prosper and last, it needs to have ALL the essential elements of the urban fabric.
Actually, the development has a double wide sidewalk in front with pedestrian lighting, street trees and special pavement treatment. The building includes a starbucks and sushi place, both with patio seating. hard to find a good picture of it but it’s a very busy pedesrian area.